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Schmidt Science Fellowship

Schmidt Science Fellows is an initiative of Schmidt Futures, delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust.

We are living in a new era of science, technology, and innovation. Scientific progress and cutting-edge technologies are rapidly accelerating our understanding of the natural and built worlds. Research is global and is helping us to tackle many pressing challenges and improving lives around the world. 

In this new era, the best scientists should draw insights from across numerous disciplines, be able to apply new techniques, and possess a broad worldview informed by the intersections between science and society.

This is the space the Schmidt Science Fellows work in.

Schmidt Science Fellows are pioneers, trailblazers, and risk-takers. They enjoy unparalleled intellectual and scientific freedom and membership of a supportive, lifelong community that provides a safe place to take scientific risks and push the boundaries of science. 

Applications for the fifth cohort closed on 5 April 2023.


About the programme

The Schmidt Science Fellows programme provides the world’s best emerging scientists with new skills and perspectives to develop novel solutions to society’s challenges, become scientific and societal thought leaders, and accelerate ground-breaking discoveries.

Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 a year and are supported to develop the skills and perspectives needed to accelerate discovery, advance solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and to become future leaders in science and society.

They are supported to pursue a postdoctoral placement at a world-leading laboratory anywhere in the world in a disciplinary pivot from their PhD.

During their Fellowship year, they also participate in a varied and challenging Global Meeting Series that introduces new research ideas, techniques, and questions, in addition to a tailored training program.

Fellows benefit from a personalised mentoring program, providing professional development support from experienced and internationally accomplished scientists, and at the completion of the Fellowship year, join a community of alumni for ongoing support, interaction, and programming opportunities. 

To learn more about Schmidt Science Fellows, take a look at the ‘We Are Schmidt Science Fellows’ features and film series.

Eligibility and assessment criteria

In order to be eligible for nomination to the Schmidt Science Fellows application process, candidates must meet the following requirements:

Have conducted their graduate degree in the natural sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences), Engineering, Mathematics, or Computing – and all sub-disciplines therein.

Expect to complete all of the requirements for the conferral of their PhD in one of these fields between 15 May 2023 and 30 June 2024.

Be available for the entire period of the 2024 programme, from April 2024 to November 2025 including onboarding activities, attendance of the Global Meeting Series and a Senior Fellows event.

Be nominated by a designated senior official at one of the nominating partner institutions.

You can more information in the programme's Person Description and Selection Criteria. We recommend applicants view the Schmidt Fellow profiles.

How to self-nominate

Please send the following documents to no later than 23:59 on Wednesday 5 April 2023:

  • letter of interest stating motivation and suitability, referring to the aims of the programme and person specification (500 words max)
  • current CV (2 sides of A4 max, plus publications and presentations) clearly stating the full legal name, email address and scientific field of PhD
  • a reference letter from supervisor or PI detailing applicant’s suitability
  • confirmation of good standing with your organisation. Good standing is taken to mean that a candidate has no past or current sanctions on their record and is not subject to any current disciplinary investigations (relating to either their academic performance or conduct) which may bring the programme into disrepute. Please submit a statement signed by your department.

All documents must be saved and sent as pdfs.

A senior academic panel, coordinated by the Postdoc Academy, will shortlist candidates internally. All self-nominees will receive an email confirming their outcome by mid-May 2023.  

Shortlisted nominees will receive an authorisation code which will allow them to register their details on the application portal when it opens on 12 May 2023. They will then have until 1 June 2023 to complete their full applications.

Please note once nominees receive their authorisation code from the Postdoc Academy, all further queries about the application should be directed to the Schmidt Foundation directly. The Postdoc Academy administers the internal selection of candidates only.


Any questions about the self-nomination process can be directed to

Key dates for the fifth cohort

5 April 2023 - deadline for applications at 23:59

14 April 2023 - Cambridge internal panel begins reviewing applications

5 May 2023 - shortlist of Cambridge nominees submitted to the Schmidt Foundation

12 May 2023 - Schmidt Foundation portal opens for shortlisted nominees to complete their applications

1 June 2023 - deadline for final applications to be submitted